Power Connect Your Way to the Best Jobs

Nine key strategies show you how.

September 4, 2008
by Debra Feldman

If you are like most people who already have a job, the last thing on your mind is touching base with your network. Contrary to popular practice, it is best to leverage your connections and take advantage of new introductions on a continuous basis. Networking correctly and continuously can lead to new job opportunities knocking on your door. As long as you are always “looking” passively and always aware of potential challenges for yourself and others, you won’t be stuck long at a job you don’t like.

Become a Power Connector

How can you become a power connector? Launch a campaign now to Network Purposefully™. By developing fresh-targeted contacts and continuously renewing existing ones, you will revitalize your creative juices. Pursuing activities that enable you to develop new relationships and stay connected will build a lifetime career foundation by putting you on the inside track for future opportunities. Always remember that networking successfully means you must give as much as you take from the process. Remember to offer networking assistance even before you are asked!

Employee referrals have become one of the most useful and effective means for sourcing posted jobs and unofficial openings. Being well-connected increases the chances that your name will be considered when staffing is addressed.

Unadvertised openings result from restructurings, new growth, transfers, unexpected resignations, retirements, pending project, etc. and will only come to your attention through inside contacts. According to industry experts, the hidden job market or unadvertised job market, continues to thrive in today’s environment generating way more new hires than the Internet and other posted openings.

Nine Strategies That Bring Jobs to You

In today’s environment, it is not just what you know but, who you know and how much they know about your potential contribution that matters most.

Use these nine strategies to create new relationships and network purposefully:

  1. Reach out to those you don’t already know. When your regular contacts fail to produce high-quality referrals, it is your signal to find new individuals.
  2. Choose your connections for their affiliations, reputations and position. Prepare an introduction detailing how you can resolve challenges, what specific help you need and ask your contact to forward your request for an introduction. Describe yourself clearly as the go-to person so that you are remembered when requests for your talent arise.
  3. Rely on third-party referrals to bypass gatekeepers, increase your credibility and build trust. Research who you want to know and ask your contacts about using their connections to introduce you. A personal recommendation is received more warmly than an unsolicited letter, e-mail or call.
  4. Converse with decision-makers, not HR, at target employers to unearth unadvertised jobs and position yourself on the decision-maker’s radar. Making an outstanding first impression not only puts your name in play now, but hiring managers are also networked and can connect you to their colleagues elsewhere, further enlarging your reach into other organizations via a personal recommendation.
  5. Choose and nurture your target contacts purposefully for their potential value to your job search and your career’s future. Any new, well-placed contact is likely to eventually deliver. Oftentimes after a dormant period, candidates are contacted out of the blue. Organizations and people are dynamic.
  6. Be very courteous without exceptions. Always stay in touch. Even if someone is not helpful, send a gracious and prompt “thank you” note. When you have a positive rapport, continue to keep in touch. You made the effort to network purposefully, don’t sacrifice your investment when you start working again.
  7. Increase your online visibility. Show me, don’t tell me is the trend. It is easier than ever to create a Web presence, support your positioning in front of recruiters and hiring managers by publishing your bio on online networks like Linked-In, Ziggs, Ecademy, Ryze or ZoomInfo. Post your resume or profile on specialty and niche job sites and on professional associations’ databases where you are more likely to be viewed by those in your target audience and more likely than general job boards to generate interest and new connections you can leverage in the future. Publish to establish yourself as an author with expertise. Invest in your own professionally designed Web site and let it boast about your strengths, abilities, talents, skills and accomplishments and demonstrate your credibility. Make sure you can be found by posting yourself on the corporate databases of your target employers.
  8. Promote yourself as an expert. Participate in your professional associations, attend local chapter events and assume a leadership role. Volunteer to present at professional meetings or be part of a panel discussion or virtual workshop. Publish a white paper on your personal Web site or elsewhere. Submit an original manuscript to a reputable firm, online or traditional media. Post comments selectively and routinely follow online networking group e-lists, chats, etc to keep on top of industry happenings, demonstrate your knowledge and invite inquiries and recognition. Write letters to editors and send comments to authors.
  9. Keep in touch regularly and remember to give more help than you ask for! E-mail your contacts to update them on industry news or a mutual colleague’s achievement, send them your articles and announcements, share thoughts of common interest or a link, celebrate special occasions and honor their birthdays, the New Year, etc.

Today, communication is easier and cheaper than ever. Anyone can network purposefully to create and maintain their visibility, which in turn attracts more new connections. Being a sincere and champion networker is an essential component for opening doors to the hidden job market and its wealth of unadvertised new opportunities.

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Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for cold calling, executed with high energy and savvy panache, connects candidates directly to decision-makers, not HR. Network Purposefully™ with the JobWhiz, and compress your job search into mere weeks, using groundbreaking techniques profiled in Forbes magazine. In addition to her private practice, writing featured columns and conducting exclusive workshops, Debra is a recommended resource to alumni of top-tier business schools. Contact Debra at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent.

Debra Feldman, 2008